7.3/10
5,247
73 user 52 critic

Emperor of the North (1973)

Emperor of the North Pole (original title)
In 1933, during the Depression, Shack the brutal conductor of the number 19 train has a personal vendetta against the best train hopping hobo tramp in the Northwest, A No. 1.

Director:

Robert Aldrich
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Prime Cut (1972)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A vicious Kansas City slaughterhouse owner and his hick family are having a bloody "beef" with the Chicago crime syndicate over profits from their joint illegal operations. Top enforcer Nick Devlin is sent to straighten things out.

Director: Michael Ritchie
Stars: Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, Sissy Spacek
Death Hunt (1981)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In 1931 Canada, Yukon trapper Johnson has a feud with a dog owner who later retaliates by publicly accusing Johnson of murder and thus triggering a police manhunt in the wilderness.

Director: Peter R. Hunt
Stars: Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Andrew Stevens
Adventure | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

During World War II, an American pilot and a marooned Japanese navy captain are deserted on a small uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. There, they must cease their hostility and cooperate if they want to survive, but will they?

Director: John Boorman
Stars: Lee Marvin, Toshirô Mifune
Comedy | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Harry Sears manages The California Dolls, a female wrestling tag team who tour America, hoping for a chance at winning big time. Harry's also romantically involved with one of them. Their ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Peter Falk, Vicki Frederick, Laurene Landon
Attack (1956)
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In 1945, an American Infantry company sets up an artillery observation post but tensions between Captain Cooney and Lieutenant Costa run high.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Jack Palance, Lee Marvin, Eddie Albert
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Three farm boys in the Old West help a wounded bank robber, who teaches them the trade.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Lee Marvin, Gary Grimes, Ron Howard
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee Marvin ... A No. 1
Ernest Borgnine ... Shack
Keith Carradine ... Cigaret
Charles Tyner ... Cracker
Malcolm Atterbury ... Hogger
Simon Oakland ... Policeman
Harry Caesar ... Coaly
Hal Baylor ... Yardman's Helper
Matt Clark ... Yardlet
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Gray Cat (as Elisha Cook)
Joe Di Reda Joe Di Reda ... Dinger (as Joe di Reda)
Liam Dunn ... Smile
Diane Dye Diane Dye ... Girl in Water
Robert Foulk ... Conductor
Jim Goodwin Jim Goodwin ... Fakir (as James Goodwin)
Edit

Storyline

It is during the great depression in the US, and the land is full of people who are now homeless. Those people, commonly called "hobos", are truly hated by Shack (Borgnine), a sadistical railway conductor who swore that no hobo will ride his train for free. Well, no-one but "A" Number One (Lee Marvin), who is ready to put his life at stake to become a local legend - as the first person who survived the trip on Shack's notorious train. Written by Brian Peterson calyooper@email.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The only way to win is to stay alive. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 May 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Emperor of the North See more »

Filming Locations:

Buxton, Oregon, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,705,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The main locomotive in the film, OP&E #19, was actually converted to burn oil in the 1920s. For the Emperor of the North, the filmmakers removed the oil bunker in the tender, installed a smaller one in its place, and hid it under the coal pile, so that it appeared to burn coal. This was done so that shoveling coal into the firebox could be used as a tool to add suspense. See more »

Goofs

In the beginning of the movie, when Shack knocks the hobo down with a hammer, the hobo is seen with his body cut in half, one half of his body between the rails, the other half on the outside of the tracks covered with blood. There is no blood visible on the rail, even though there certainly would have a lot of blood on the wheel that cut him in half. See more »

Quotes

Shack: There's only one 'bo that's got the stuff to try me, and you ain't even on the list.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally premiered as "Emperor of the North Pole": the film was pulled from release because people thought the film was about the Arctic. It was re-released as "Emperor of the North" and given two different advertising campaigns: one with a poster playing up the comedy, another with a poster playing up the violence (The poster said "If you can ride Shack's train and live, you're...Emperor of the North!"). Neither new campaign clicked with audiences. The song "A Man and a Train" is sung in "Emperor of the North" by Marty Robbins. The poster for the original release says it is sung by Bill Medley. It is unknown what other changes, if any, were made between the two releases. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Polar Express (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

A Man and a Train
Lyrics by Hal David
Music by Frank De Vol
Sung by Marty Robbins
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

One of the great unsung films of the 1970's
22 May 1999 | by Cru3See all my reviews

Robert Aldrich was one of the most interesting American directors of the last 40 years. He moved with relative ease between genres and told his stories in a direct, honest style. This film is one of the unsung gems of the seventies, part adventure film, part social drama, part road movie.

Set during the depression when riding the rails was a way of life for desperate men (and women), the film follows three characters - Lee Marvin, as Number One, a legend among the grizzled hobos congregating along the rail lines; Ernest Borgnine as Shack, the sadistic conductor perfectly willing to do whatever necessary to keep free loaders off his trains; and a young Keith Carradine as Two-Bit, a novice full of bluster and false bravado out to make a name for himself. Marvin takes the kid under his wing; their relationship is part adversarial, as the weary elder tries to educate the fool how to survive on the line. Looming in the background is Borgnine, out to do his job at any cost. Ultimately a wager is made, and Marvin will put his life on the line to best Borgnine and show he is the Emperor of the North.

At times it's a very brutal film - the final confrontation between Marvin & Borgnine is one of the toughest, nastiest fights ever photographed - but it is splendidly made and endlessly fascinating.


39 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 73 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed